Eric Clapton - guitar, vocals; Bobby Whitlock - keyboards, vocals; Carl Radle - bass; Jim Gordon - drums
The Derek and the Dominos In Concert LPs and CDs are excerpted from these Fillmore East concerts, when the group headlined a bill that included Ballin' Jack and Humble Pie.
After spending months touring with Delaney and Bonnie and collaborating with them on his first solo album, Clapton took the nucleus of that band (Whitlock, Radle, and Gordon) and formed Derek and the Dominos. By 1970, Clapton had an impressive catalogue on which to draw, and these musicians gelled in a way that brought out the best in the material. For many fans, this quartet was the most consistently exciting group Clapton ever toured with, and these concerts feature some of the most passionate live playing of his career.
Kicking things off with "Got To Get Better In A Little While," a track from an unreleased second album, Clapton and the group immediately begin jamming at a level far more refined than his days with Cream. The ferocious battles for dominance in Cream are replaced by a more cohesive and thoughtful mode of playing that lets everyone in the band shine.
Next up is "Blues Power," here rocked out to over twice the length of the studio version. They slow things down with "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," a song Clapton redefined back in his days with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and which exemplifies his enduring passion for pure blues. A relaxed "Key to the Highway" follows, and then more intriguing jamming on "Tell the Truth." A rather short "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" is a return to pure blues and a song this band rarely played, a welcome addition here.
Another monumental workout on "Let It Rain," featuring plenty of improvising and a lengthy drum solo from Jim Gordon, follows before they get back to tighter arrangements. "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?" again shows the most intriguing side of this band's original material, featuring impassioned vocals and incredible ensemble playing. Although this version is a little shorter than the previous night's, the intensity level is extraordinary.
Blind Faith's "Presence of the Lord" is up next, which segues directly into the rockin' "Bottle of Red Wine." "Roll It Over," the B-side to their "Tell the Truth" single, lets Clapton play around with his wah-wah pedal and the whole band supply a funkier context. A lovely cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" closes the set. This version expands considerably on the version played the previous night; and provides another prime example of Whitlock's vocals adding the missing dimension to Clapton's singing.
This night is the tighter, more focused of the two shows, but both are wonderful performances. When this tour ended, Clapton went into deep despair and, in the eyes of some listeners, the flame in his guitar playing was forever diminished, and would remain so upon his return several years later. These shows capture the end of that initial incredible era in Clapton's career, an era that justifiably made him a guitar legend.
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